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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Early season trouble continues for the Thayer Bobcats

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

(Photo)
The Thayer Bobcats had their chances, but just could not turn the corner and enter the end zone against Liberty on Saturday, Sept. 7. [Order this photo]
Football games are played in all kinds of weather conditions, except lightning. Thayer's Friday, Sept. 7 game at Mt View-Birch Tree Liberty high school became a scary situation. Heavy storm clouds, moved into the area, which produced sheets of rain, lightning, as well as swirling and straight-line winds that reached near sixty miles per hour. Officials, coaches, and school administrators moved the players to the safety of the elementary school basement shelter. Fans and parents were asked to leave the stadium and return to their vehicles for safety. After an hour long delay, lightning was still visible in the area and the decision was made to postpone the game until Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

Thayer won the coin toss and recieved the ball to open the game. The Bobcats' offense was not able to contain the charging Liberty defense on the first possession, and was forced to go three and out.

Liberty's potent offense found holes in Thayer's defense and quickly marched into Bobcat territory. With 5:23 remaining in the first quarter, Liberty's quarterback eluded Bobcat tacklers for a thirty-five yard run into the endzone. Liberty's two-point conversion run was successful for an eight to zero Eagle lead.

The Bobcats picked up the pace and moved the ball upfield with good lead blocking. Senior Jacob Alford was able to slash through small openings for positive yardage. The first quarter ended with Thayer in possession of the ball on Liberty's twenty-six yard line, trailing eight to nothing.

The Eagles were able to stop the Bobcats on a forth-down play to take possession of the ball and keep the Bobcats out of the end zone.

Two Thayer Bobcat defenders had great position, but were not able to knock down the pass or dislodge the ball from an Eagle receiver, who caught a pass on the fifteen and ran into the end zone for the Eagles second touchdown of the half. A second successful two point conversion made the score 16-0 Eagles at halftime.

The young Bobcats team struggled with discipline in the second half. Among the most costly penalties of the game was an offsides penatly on the opening kickoff of the second half that cost the Bobcats six points. Thayer's kicker pinned the Eagles back to their own 20 yard line with a touchback but, due to the penalty, a re-kick was in order. Liberty returned the do-over for a touchdown.

Illegal motion, procedures and holding penalties hampered or stalled positive momentum throughout the game.

Thayer's quarterback, Mitch Webber, was able to scramble for a few yards, and completed a good reception to Thayer tight end Payton Risner. With the catch and run, Risner was able to pick up first down yardage, but it was negated by one of the many Bobcat penalties.

Webber connected with passes to Levi Hargrove to continue to move the Bobcats offense in a positive direction. With a completed pass from Webber, Hargrove was able to break free from several Eagle defenders for a big gain, all for naught, because of another Bobcat infraction at the line.

Ridge Burke was a defensive standout for the Bobcats, blocking well from his linebacker position, and playing sideline to sideline to track down and tackle Liberty ball carriers.

The Eagles picked up a couple more scores on the Bobcats defense and were able to hold the Bobcats scoreless for a 30-0 Liberty victory. So it's back to work for Thayer to prepare for the Friday, Sept. 14 home stand against Salem (Mo.).



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